Sunday, April 26, 2009 enables world map tracking swine flu

Someone has put up a world map (using Google Maps, of course) that depicts with push pins areas of illness or death, reported or confirmed. Click on a push pin to get details about that incident. See the Google H1N1 Swine Flu Map.

It's not totally clear how official or authentic the information is. So far, it seems to match what's reported in the news, and at But I couldn't find an obvious "About" page. All I could find was that the author has a screen name of "ninan."
He or she only says this in the user profile:

Biomedical Research
Pittsburgh, PA USA
That doesn't offer much confidence. This could be a distinguished professor at Carnegie-Mellon, or a 12 year old who is good in science class.

Google's charity arm,, last November launched, an experimental attempt to track flu trends by analyzing search patterns. They speculate that when people search for various symptoms, researchers could map those geographically, and give a leading indicator of flu outbreaks -- ahead of official public health data and reports. One news report claims was responsible for enabling the swine map.

By the way, appears to be functioning well -- and providing current information on this H1N1 outbreak. On the other hand, the World Health Organization site,, has been down all day. Wonder how robust a server farm WHO has?